Moodzie loves Reindeer as Moodzie believes they are very cool and distinct animal especially once they are in their natural habitat. Moodzie will share some facts about reindeers and how they exactly reside within their natural habitat. Within North America Reindeers have become a predominant holiday tradition as they are the ones who are leading Santa’s sleigh, and are typically associated with Christmas, nonetheless Moodzie will share some facts that will make one realize that Reindeers are not only a Christmas animal.

Reindeer have an alternative name calling them caribou, currently roughly a total of 40 types of different reindeer exist around the world, thankfully their population is stable and the chances of extinction anytime soon are minimal. Male and female Reindeer usually both have antlers and look thus quite similar. Reindeer are known as a winter mammal and hence have unique features such as having a special nose, that is designed to warm the air before it gets into their lungs, Reindeer also when walking usually have a clicking sound, as this helps them stay together and not get lost in an event like a blizzard.

Reindeer on average travel 3000 miles a year, making them the most travelled land mammal. Reindeer are primarily thought of as a Tundra species usually living around the Arctic regions, however some Reindeer have been known to live in southern regions as well, usually Reindeers who live in more Arctic regions are lighter in color, whereas the more south one goes the lighter the Reindeer gets. Reindeer are usually about 1 meter long at the shoulder area, and on average they live a life span of 15 years, some may live up to a total of 28 years.

Reindeer are usually born as singles, sometimes twins, and they are born specifically between the months of April and June. A cool fact about Reindeers that Moozie loves, is that their antlers fall every year and new ones grow. Moodzie also loves Reindeer as they are spirited animals, that are calm and shy yet also curious and alarmed when they need to be. Thus, those are some facts and reasons as to why Moodzie loves Reindeer.

Moodzie just loves reindeer. Below are tips about them and what impacts them in their natural habitat:

Characteristics:

  1. Reindeer are one of approximately 40 species of deer.
  2. In Scandinavia and Russia, the term reindeer is used. This comes from the Lappish word ‘REINO’, which means a reindeer calf. The term ‘Caribou’ is used in North America. It is derived from the Micmac Indians and implies the animal’s habit of digging and scraping through the snow for food.
  3. Lifespan: 15 years and up to 28 years in captivity.
  4. Gestation: 190-240 days.
  5. Number of young at birth: Normally one calf, but occasionally twins. They are born from about the last days of April until the middle of June.
  6. Size: Approx. 1 meter high at the shoulder.

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Antlers:

  • Antlers: Reindeer are the only members of the deer family in which both males and females grow antlers.
  •  Antlers are composed entirely of bone.
  •  Every year they fall off and the new ones grow.
  •  The large mature breeding bulls are the first to lose their antlers, casting them in November at the end of the rutting (breeding) season.
  •  The reindeer cows and the young keep their antlers throughout the winter months. Calves are born with buds in the place of antlers and the antlers are fully grown by the time they reach maturity. (4 to 6 years)
  •  While antlers are growing, the developing bone is covered in a thick velvet skin. The skin protecting the growing antlers carries blood vessels out to the growing tips. When the antlers are fully grown, the velvet is shed and the solid bone underneath is revealed.

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Behaviour

(a) Communication:

Reindeer are spirited animals, exhibiting both shyness and curiosity. When alarmed, the adults snort and the fawns grunt.

(b) Reproduction:

  1.      The cleaning of the velvet from the antlers heralds the rutting (mating) season when the bulls use their    antlers for display and to fight for supremacy.
  2.      Dominant bulls will hold harems of cows.
  3.      Reindeer calves are able to walk and follow their mothers as soon as they are born.
  4.      In summer, the mature males are solitary, whereas the female and young form herds commonly of 20 or 30, but occasionally more. The mature males join the herds during the period of rut, which occurs in September and October.

(c) Migration:

Reindeer do not necessarily migrate between two distinct areas, but rather wander from place to place. On these migrations, they swim rivers, lakes and streams and have been recorded to travel up to 37 miles (59.5 kilometers) per hour over a daily distance of about 96 miles. (154.5 kilometers).

(d) Dominance:

Reindeer will use their full-grown antlers for dominance, whether it is a bull reindeer fighting in the rutting (mating) season, or a cow reindeer competing for food in the cold months.

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Diet:

  1. Reindeer, like all herbivores, are plant eating animals.
  2. Reindeer moss, Cladonia Rangiferina, a lichen, forms the main diet of the reindeer during the winter months. There is little other food available to reindeer during this season.
  3. Lichen is indigestible to man, but reindeer are able to digest this moss in their stomachs.
  4. Diet varies with the seasons of the year:
  5.      Autumn: Mushrooms are a great delicacy and the reindeer forage eagerly for them.
  6.      Summer: The food of the reindeer in this season is composed of herbs, grasses, cotton, leaves and twigs of bushes. They also eat bulbs and shoots of shrubs and lichens.
  7.      Winter: When snow is lying on the ground, reindeer use their hooves to dig down to the lichens below.
  8.      Spring: There is an abundance of food during this season of the year. There are newly growing leaves, grass shoots and shrubs for the reindeer to eat.

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Special Features:

(a) Amazing Insulation

  •      A reindeer’s internal body temperature is 38 degrees C. (100 degrees F)
  •      Heat exchange system where air is warmed entering the lungs and cooled on the way out to prevent heat loss.
  •      Leg temperature is 9 degrees C. (48 degrees F)

(b) Hairy Nose

  •   This keeps the nose warm while the reindeer are grazing down through the snow. The warm moist air being exhaled does not freeze in the nose and heat loss is also prevented.

(c) Blizard Facing

Reindeer face into blizzards as this keeps their fur flat. This traps a layer of air that assists with insulation to keep the reindeer warm.

(d) Special Hooves

  •      Reindeer have hairs at the base of their legs that grow long over and between each deft hoof to prevent them from slipping on the ice.
  •      Broad and flat deft hooves aid in walking on soft ground or snow. They are also well designed for pawing down through the snow to the lichens beneath.

(e) Wooly Coat

     Reindeer have wooly coats that are highly insulated. This is due to the outer coat having long, hollow hairs and the underneath coat short, dense and soft hairs.

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Impacts:    

(a) Domestication

  • Reindeer are the first hoofed animals to have been domesticated.
  • There is plenty of evidence that the association of the reindeer with man goes back to over 4500 years ago. Not only was man hunting the reindeer, they were also herding them.
  • Throughout Arctic Scandinavia and Russia, man has associated himself with reindeer to enable him to live and survive in this very difficult environment.
  • In this environment, traditional domesticated animals like horses, cows and sheep would not survive.
  • The reindeer provide man with a source of food.  Skins are used for clothing and tents and female reindeer can also be milked.
  • As beasts of burden, reindeer can be used as pack animals or to pull sleds.  Some tribes ride their reindeer to access hunting and fishing grounds. They also use reindeer to carry their belongings while they move to other areas.

(b) Global Warming

     Global warming has an impact on the food that reindeer graze upon.  As winter temperatures rise, lichen becomes tougher to find.

     After the snow thaws with the rising temperatures and combined with rain, the ground freezes.  As a result, the ground is covered in layers of ice that are impervious to the most tenacious reindeer.

(c) Habitat Loss

     Loss and destruction of habitat can have a huge impact on reindeer. Natural resource exploration such as oil and gas and logging, are destructive to the reindeer habitat.  This especially occurs if the destruction is in the old growth forests where reindeer eat lichen that grows on rocks, stones and trees.

     Another treat is that the roads built to serve these industries not only result in the destruction of land but prove access to previously inaccessible lands. This can often lead to additional industry and commercial development, that can further destroy the reindeer habitat.

(d) Predators

  •  As well as the wolf, bears and wolverines are also predators of the reindeer.
  •  Reindeer calves are sometimes attacked by lynx, eagles or ravens.
  •  Reindeer meat represents the staple diet of many northern people of Europe and the Artic. It is eaten fresh,  smoked or dried and will keep well for long periods.
  •  The over hunting of reindeer has resulted in their numbers declining. Reindeer hide, tails, skin and antlers have been used to produce many household products, such as utensils, upholstery, clothing, shoes and woollen materials.

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See the Reindeer feeding with Santa Below:

Visit Santa and the Reindeer at Santa Claus Village, Artic Circle. 

Santa Claus Village

to the Santa Claus Village at the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Lapland You can meet Santa Claus and cross the magical Arctic Circle every day at the Santa Claus Village in Lapland in Finland. Send friends and relatives greetings from the Read more…